Urban Sprawl and Technological Solutions


Rapid urbanization leads to the release of gases like carbon dioxide emitted by cars and industries, leads to global warming. It is because of this urban sprawl that a lot of energy is used in the transport sector at homes through cooling and heating of big homes in the cities. Urban sprawl has it’s origin in the US in the nineteenth century, where it came by as a result of owners of land who had an aim of boosting the production of their land by the use of automated transport.

Top business organizations have been in the fore- front to spearhead the campaign against the emission of gases leading to global warming. Nevertheless their efforts seem to encourage the emission of greenhouse gases through the advancement of technology. Urban sprawl increases the need for machines that contribute in polluting the environment (Frumkin 2001, p. 6). Urbanization is however significant in that it helps in economic development through the creation of employment in manufacturing industries; creation of markets for machinery has been increased through the spread of urban sprawl. Though urban sprawl is a major factor contributing to economic growth globally, it could also be a hindrance towards the resolution of the negative effects brought about by urban sprawl.

Definition of urban sprawl

The speedy development of cities is regarded as the urban sprawl which involves a multifaceted mode of utilizing land, construction of the transport system as well as the economic and social development. As the towns develop, they encroach the rural areas due to the extensive activities carried out on land like constructing of industries, large scale farming and so on (Frumkin 2001, p. 6). Resources are then transferred from the metropolis to the rural areas. Urban sprawl has also been on the increase due to the widening of fringes away from the cities. Increase in the number of cars in the cities shapes the urban infrastructure.

Additionally motorized urban sprawl is on the increase and this has transformed the way community freedom is used in a great way. Due to the absence of traffic from pedestrians, the motorized urban sprawl shows that people have become individualistic as they are confined in their houses and their cars. In recent years there has been an increase in movement in all spheres of life politically, socially, nationally, internationally locally as well as regionally (Frumkin 2001, p.7). The increase in the number of cars as well as the transport system has led to motorization has led to increase pollution due to the fumes emitted by the many cars present in the cities. China has been in the forefront in dealing with air pollution brought about by increased motorization. One of the effects of motorization in China is the decrease in agricultural production as well as overpopulation in the urban areas (Frumkin 2001, p.7).

History of urban sprawl

The urban sprawl had its origin in the United States through the efforts made by influential people in the economic sector. They include owners of huge tracts of land as well as land developers aimed at increasing the worth of land that they own through their ventures (Savitch & Kantor 2003, p.20). Pieces of land have become costly due to the construction of real estates. On the other hand the development of transport network has led to the increase of urban sprawl. Urban sprawl has led to climatic change prompting countries to act on climate change, through the signing of a treaty by thirty eight countries in the world in the late 90’s, to deal with the problems of climate change.

Contribution of various scholars to urban sprawl

Various scholars have made contributions to the study of urban sprawl. According to (Martin 2007, p.11), urban sprawl has brought about many problems. Nevertheless the major cause of this is the over utilization of machinery. Disparities between the haves and have not’s is also another problem brought about by the urban sprawl. For example the poor cannot use the large sums of money used by the rich to buy a car. The pitiable state of the transport system is also an indication of the inequalities brought about by the urban sprawl. Physically challenged people face problems that require technical assistance to help them navigate the jam-packed towns. On the other hand (Frumkin 2001, p. 7) argues that the urban sprawl has negative effects on people’s health whereby air pollution leads to respiratory disease. Road accidents may also be incurred due to the heavy traffic jam. Lifestyle in the US contributes to health problems like obesity as people are inactive due to over reliance on cars as their mode of transport. Another health problem brought about by the lifestyle in the US is stress which comes about due to long drives experienced in the overcrowded infrastructure. Gonzalez( 2005, p.15) argues that due to the various problems brought about by the urban sprawl, there is a need for solutions to deal with the problems of urban sprawl.

The relationship between business groups and climate change

Various business groups have come up with ideas to deal with the problems of climate change. Some groups have come out strongly in opposing the efforts by the government to regulate the release of polluting gases. These groups question the logic behind the release of gases and climate change. Business groups argue they can only reduce emissions from industries but cannot completely do away with greenhouse gases produced in industries. The problem with the governments’ effort and business groups dealing with climate change is that there is no known technology that will completely do away with gas emissions (Gonzalez 2005, p. 15).

Effects of urban sprawl

The social effects of urban sprawl

People have become individualistic due to confinement in their vehicles as well as their homes. Air pollution on the other hand is on the increase due to the huge number of cars operating in the roads. Public space has also been rendered useless due to traffic congestion where people cannot go for leisure activities in parks, squares as well as plazas. Inequalities have also risen up as the poor get poor infrastructure services as they live in poor dwelling places. The rich on the other hand are advantaged as they their infrastructure is good due to their good dwelling places where they can finance the construction of good infrastructure.

Though cars make movement easier as well as rendering one independent, they are also disadvantageous since they are a health hazard due to air pollution (Frumkin 2001, p. 8). The rise in greenhouse gases has led to the increase in respiratory diseases. Lack of exercises has also rendered most of the US population obese due to lack of exercises where people use cars to move from one point to another. Stress also comes about due to traffic congestion brought about by the urban sprawl. On the other hand urban sprawl could be advantageous in that the spread of suburbs away from cities ensures that people get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.


According to (Gonzalez 2005, p. 16) the basic way of climate change is by dealing with the harms brought about by urban sprawl. This can be done through the proper planning of the cities, investment in communal transport as well as limitation in the use of cars. However this solution is not viable as there are already many cities all over the world and this resolution may take a while. Business groups on the other hand propose the reduction of greenhouse gases however this cannot help as the gases being emitted will not be done away with completely.


Urban sprawl has both negative as well positive effects. One of the positive effects is that the emergence of suburbs will ensure individuals reside in a cool environment away from the hustle and bustle of the city as well as developing the city. However the disadvantages out weigh the advantages for example pollution brought about by the urban sprawl. These problems need to be resolved; business groups have come up with solutions that ensure the reduction in greenhouse gases however these solutions cannot do away with the emission of gases completely, as business owner don’t want to do anything that would drive them out of business. The emission of gases can only be minimized but not eliminated completely.

Reference List

Frumkin, H. (2001) Urban Sprawl and Public Health. Public Health Reports, 117.

Gonzalez, G. (2005) ‘Urban Sprawl, Global Warming and the Limits of Ecological Modernization. Environmental Politics.

Martin, G. (2007) Motorization, Social Ecology and China. Area, 39.

Savitch, H and Kantor, P. (2003) Cities in the International marketplace: The Political Economy of Urban Development in North America and Western Europe, Princeton, Princeton University Press.

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